For all of the books that are written on the subject of product and service innovation, how many discuss the idea that the structure of management is in dire need of innovation? Gary Hamel's The Future of Management is a wonderful exploration of the idea that workers can effectively manage themselves. Hamel describes the organization of management at companies like Google, WL Gore, and Whole Foods and shows how genuine worker-operated meritocracies can outperform top-down direction from MBA-trained managers. The message is especially compelling coming from Hamel, a long time professor at Harvard Business School.
Chapter titles include "Escaping the Shackles," "Creating a Community of Purpose," "Learning from the Fringe," and "Building an Innovation Democracy." This book is pure inspiration. However, I wonder how many prospective "management innovators" who read the book find Hamel's ideas too radical to be implemented in their own companies.